Angry Birds, Flocking to Cellphones Everywhere

When I saw the headline “Angry Birds, Flocking to Cellphones Everywhere” among the NYT most popular list, I was naturally expecting a story about emissions from our mobile devices scrambling the navigational systems of our fine feathered friends.  Not so much:

Angry Birds, a hit game by Rovio, a small Finnish company, is one of the unlikeliest pop-culture crazes of the year — and perhaps the first to make the leap from cellphone screens to the mainstream.

Angry Birds, in which the birds seek revenge on the egg-stealing pigs, is meant to be easily played in the checkout line and during other short windows of downtime — but some players have trouble stopping. Rovio says people around the world rack up 200 million minutes of game play each day. (Put another way, that is 16 human-years of bird-throwing every hour.)

Who knew?

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. john personna says:

    What kind of phone do you have, James?

    Angry Birds have been a fixture of family gatherings for a year now.

    (It is interesting from a product positioning standpoint, because it is pretty much the first time a highly developed product was marketed for $1 and won in total returns. It was audacious.

    I have asked my nephews if Rage HD, $1.99 is on for the holidays. That could be hard for me, I was never big on the 1st person shooters.)

  2. john personna says:

    Doh! I bet you are stuck in a Beltway Blackberry Ghetto.

  3. Mithras says:

    Who knew? Anyone with an iphone who went to “top 25” in the app store. Probably most people who read consumer tech blogs.

  4. I don’t get it personally. The only game I’ve got on my Droid is Solitaire and I’ll touch that only if I’m extremely bored.

    Shooting birds or whatever doesn’t really appeal

  5. john personna says:

    It’s sort of like an interactive cartoon. In a bare bones sense. There is also a meme that it’s genius is that it’s playable in brief moments. With your play incremental toward progression through the game.

    Stuck in a long checkout queue? Angry Birds.

  6. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: An iPhone 3Gs. Although I’ve only had it for a few months and really don’t have all that many apps.

    @Michael: Yeah, 10 years ago I’d have been constantly downloading apps. Now, I use it mostly as a business phone and just don’t bother unless there’s some functionality I really want or I’ve happened to hear about something useful.

  7. epistorese says:

    Wow! You guy really make me feel out of it. I only use my cellphone to make calls.

  8. tom p says:

    “Stuck in a long checkout queue?”

    National Enquirer. I am with epistorese… When I got latest cell phone, I asked for one that was ONLY a phone. To say that I was a little disappointed to find out that they don’t make those anymore is an understatement.

    So much for “free-market” choices…

  9. Franklin says:

    I don’t have a fancy cellphone and have never heard of it.